Kiersten Rowland

Adventures, Travel & Photography

A walk through a cork oak forest

25 October 2017

Reading time: 4 mins

Laura and I decided to go for a walk yesterday. She had recently been in this area and I said I would like to see the freshly harvested cork oak trees as I had never seen them.

The view from the fire look out. The Sierra Nevada mountains with the left over of the recent snows and some of the villages in the Alpujarra
The view from the fire look out. The Sierra Nevada mountains with the left over of the recent snows and some of the villages in the Alpujarra

We met up in Orgiva, drove into the Contraviesa and parked at the restaurant of Haza del Lino. It was a beautiful autumn day, just perfect for walking, not too hot, not too cold, no wind and nobody else around. Wonderful colours on the trunks of the trees after the recent harvest.

We walked up through the cork oak forest, stopping to take lots of photos along the way. Cork oaks are the only tree that can have their bark harvested without killing the tree. According to some reports I have read, this is the highest cork oak forest in Spain. Eventually we arrived at the top, close to a fire look out point, to stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Las Alpujarras and, when you turned around, views of the Mediterranean sea. I attempted to have a conversation with the man who was manning the fire look out, I swear he was not speaking back to me in Spanish haha.

Mulhacen, the highest peak in mainland Spain
Mulhacen, the highest peak in mainland Spain
Veleta, 2nd highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada and other peaks and ridges
Veleta, 2nd highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada and other peaks and ridges

More photos were taken up there, before we turned around and made our way back through the forest collecting discarded cork along the way. I shall use my cork to float in the pool so when small critters fall in they can at least get out of the water until I fish them out for good.

The Mediterranean Sea with the cloud creeping in from the coast
The Mediterranean Sea with the cloud creeping in from the coast
Cork Oaks
Cork Oaks
Incredible colours
Incredible colours
More cork oaks
More cork oaks

Arriving back to the road there is a big old ruin and a fantastic old tree that screams at you to take it’s photo, so we obliged. The cloud had crept up from the coast and made a great back drop for the tree.

The tree that screamed to have it's picture taken
The tree that screamed to have it's picture taken

While taking photos I noticed two big birds in the sky, just silhouettes because they were in the cloud, making it difficult to identify them. They were making a lot of noise and we noticed a 3rd bird that was attacking the two. Once they moved into the clear blue sky I could see they were a pair of Golden Eagles getting mobbed by a Bonelli’s Eagle. I have been lucky to witness this once before, many years ago, it still never fails to excite me seeing these big birds of prey, but seeing these birds interact in this way, well that’s just super special! What a great way to end the day.

A pair of Golden Eagles
A pair of Golden Eagles
Bonelli's Eagle
Bonelli's Eagle
Bonelli's Eagle chasing Golden Eagle
Bonelli's Eagle chasing Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

Comments

Linda martin: Lovely article nice read and amazing photos. The cork trees look fantastic with all the colours etc.

The Ao4: Wow, what stunning views! Well worth the hike to get up there, I’d say! I’m still fascinated with the cork oaks! AND EAGLES!!!!!!! I love the old tree with the cloudy/foggy background! What a day you had!!! KZK

carol: Lovely post, love that stretch of the Contraviesa, the lavender there in Spring is fabulous too.

Peter Roberts: Great story. Was by there during first fall of snow this Autumn. Am very interested in the wild life which is tolally dependent on these forests. Very interesting. Thanks.

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